Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

An 'Ouchy" Day

Yesterday had a problem while dusting and ended up sitting on the floor. With hubby's help after about 5 minutes, I was finally up off the floor and in a lot of pain that continues into today. It is amazing how little it takes to get the old arthritis flare up going! To me it is not only painful but frustrating as there were things I wanted to do such as finishing pinning down and then cutting out a dress. This is a summer dress I'm trying to make and at the rate I'm going it should be ready to wear just in time for Christmas!

I am happy with my little secondary sewing station downstairs though, as I was able to piece a few patches together. Not a lot of progress on this Project Linus quilt but at least I felt like I was doing something.

Except for that little bit of sewing, my sewing time has been involved with reading Kennth King's Cool Couture. This is a book that explains the process of techniques not projects. If you are a beginner sewer, you might want to read this book with an all round sewing book in hand as many things such as interlining, interfacing, etc. are not explained in any great detail. But, what he does explain in detail is very detailed. If you want to do piping, embellishing, pocket making in your sewing, he has some great techniques. He also explains how to sew on some of the more difficult fabrics and what types of fabrics he uses for interfacings and interlinings. There are a lot of line drawings and color photographs. What he does cover in the book is usually very thorough, but after my first look through several weeks ago and then reading through it again, I was left with a "Is that all there is?" feeling. I would have liked to have seen a whole look more techniques covered. Fortunately he also writes articles for Threads magazine so I know he has a lot more techniques up his sleeves that I have gotten to read about, but that doesn't help the reader who only can buy his book. This book definitely has some good ideas, but may not be what you are looking for.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two by Four Quilts

I have been thinking a lot about what I want to focus in on with my sewing since I have realized that my To Do list will take me approximately 500 years and I doubt that I have more than 40 to go, tops! I don't want to waste my time working on projects that don't give me pleasure while ignoring the ones that do. Maybe I'm the only one that goes through this angst, but once you have chronic health problems, you find yourself being limited in many ways.

I finally realized that when it comes to sewing, number one on the list is sewing patchwork pieces together, preferably using 'scraps'. Scraps to me can be leftovers from any 100% cotton sewing project, pre-made scraps from new fabric, and scraps and leftovers given to me from people who know I sew. One of the things I do when scraps enter my life is narrow them down into workable sizes for quick and easy projects. Most quilts can be ‘quick and easy’ if you do most of the work ahead of time, little by little. So all scraps go through this process. I cut them into 2 ½”, 2”, 1 ½” strips, then 4 ½” squares, 4 1/2” x 2 ½” rectangles, and 2 ½” squares. Odd pieces wider than an inch but maybe having an odd angle, etc. are thrown in my string piecing box which has produced several string pieced quilts. The other strips are carefully places in boxes according to their size. When I have a few spare minutes (or sometimes just a minute!) I use the 4 ½”, 2 ½” squares and/or the 4 ½” x 2 ½” rectangle and design a block then sew it together. I call these my 2 x 4 quilts. I will go through this process until I run low on any particular size block unit and then see what I can make with what is left. When I get to the point that nothing is making a good color match I stop, but at this point I have usually made enough 8 ½” quilt blocks to put together at least a lap quilt or a Project Linus baby quilt. Then I need to do the not as much fun for me part of layering, quilting and binding. I’m currently in the process of machine quilting an over large Twin sized quilt and decided that from now on the majority of my quilts are going to be quilt as you go so I’m not having such an awful time handling a big quilt in my machine.

Up until 2 years ago I lived in a one floor house that permitted me to pop into my sewing room and whip up a quilt block in a spare minute or two. Sometimes I would just lay out a block to let the colors percolate in my mind and maybe when I get back to it I’d swap the smaller squares for something that looks better, or maybe I’d still like it and just sew it up using chain piecing. I realize of late that I wasn’t getting as much sewing down as I used to even with a large, well equipped sewing room. I blamed it on ill health, but that still didn’t seem right. Then I put on my thinking cap and realized that with my sewing machine upstairs, whenever I had a free few minutes downstairs I didn’t have the sewing machine to run to for quick work on a project. This was easily solved with a secondary sewing station as I am blessed with two good sewing machines, a Janome 6500 upstairs and a Janome 9000 now downstairs. Since setting up, I have whipped out over 20 quilt blocks and have had to bring out my box of precut Project Linus quilt pieces to start sewing together. I have enough cut out for probably 4 baby quilts at least and with my new set up, I know I will be able to get more done. Sewing is relaxing for me so I love having a chance to do it while waiting for something to finished on the stove or for hubby to get off the computer and let me use it.

As to what will be going on in the upstairs sewing room, I’m still thinking that through but I’m very happy to be back in the piecing grove again!